“Otaku are those Japanese, usually males and generally between the ages of 18 and 40, who fanatically consume, produce and collect comic books (manga), animated films (anime), and other products related to these forms of popular visual culture. . . . Although this subculture began as an underground network of nerdy social outcasts on the fringe of mainstream commerce, it has become a major economic force: in 2007, the ‘otaku market’ in Japan is estimated to be a 186.7 billion yen (about 1.7 billion dollar) market. Globally, otaku culture has spawned a large following and strongly influenced popular culture not only in Japan but also throughout Asia, the United States and Europe . . . This emerging cultural phenomenon has become a focal point for understanding both Japanese society and the postmodern world.”

—from Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals by Hiroki Azuma; translated by Jonathan E. Abel and Shion Kono.

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